What to do in the Winter Garden
Continue sowing winter veggie seeds directly into the soil such as beetroot, carrots, radish, broad beans, onions, peas and spinach. Spread compost around maturing veggies as this helps absorb excess water during winter downpours and eventually improves the soil. By raising vegetable plots, drainage is enhanced and vegetable growth is improved.
Trees & Shrubs
June and July are ‘safe’ months to plant trees. Choose fruit trees varieties that thrive in your area. Part of your fruit tree selection should be to ensure you have a year-round supply of fresh fruit. Select a warm, sheltered sunny position as fruit trees only flower once a year and in a windy position, flowers can be blown off which means fruit will not set resulting in no crops! Prune deciduous fruit trees such as apples, apricots, nectarines, peaches, pears and plums. With young trees, prune to develop a strong structure to support fruiting wood in coming years. When pruning mature trees, remove any old wood that is not providing fruit. Leave pruning feijoas until August. After pruning spray with coper oxychloride and then again in August to reduce any fungal disease appearing in spring.
For ornamental trees and shrubs, garden centres have plenty of stock – choose only healthy, well-grown specimens. People often plant their specimen trees too close together, so plan new plantings carefully. Plants sometimes grow considerably larger than is indicated on the plant label. Stake new trees if required.
Once leaves have fallen, pruning can begin. Take off any disease or dead wood and all inward growing branches. Prune to outward facing buds and remove any wood that is thinner than a pencil. The end result you are trying to achieve is a vase shape. When making your cuts, bear in mind they need to be as clean as possible, positioned just above a bud and at a 45-degree angle. One week after pruning, spray with Lime Sulphur and/or Copper Oxychloride to ward off fungal diseases (do not mix these sprays together), then 3 or 4 days later apply a horticultural spray to kill off any overwintering pests (again do not mix with copper).
When choosing new rose varieties to plant, select strong, healthy specimens. Roses can grow in a variety of soils as long as they have good drainage. Find a spot in the garden that gets plenty of sun and is not crowded in by other plants or trees, as good air flow reduces the risk of pests and diseases.
Don’t overwater houseplants in winter – some only require watering once a week. A light misting of indoor plants with lukewarm water helps prevent leaves from drying in heated indoor conditions. You may need to shift plants during the winter months as parts of the house can become too dark for healthy growth.
Lawn growth will cease for a few months and it’s a good time to get the blades of your lawnmower sharpened. In August you can deal with any problem areas in your lawn. Installing drainage coil in wet parts of the lawn can make significant and almost immediate difference. Where moss has arrived in the lawn, wait until spring to over sow with fresh lawn seed.